Michael awoke with a jolt, his eyes opening to pitch darkness and the steady thrum thrum thrum of the fan above him. He was only barely aware of the cacophony that New York City played at below him as he stood, running a hand through the knotted, grease-filmed, and untidy mass of hair atop his head. Standing now, Michael's gaze shifted to the filtered light breaking the barricades that were his torn, bent, cracked blinds. Blearily, Michael reached for a switch - any switch - that would turn on the lights. His hand brushed the wall-switch and his bare, open apartment was cast in a swathe of light. Paint splattered the floor and walls. Dust coated virtually every surface. The mattress behind him sagged and was near ready to blend into the ill-kept and chipped hardwood floor. On the wall opposite his right lay a four canvases, the majority of which were half-covered in squares of various hues of blue, pink, and grey. With the lights on, he trudged to the dented, scratched refrigerator and opened the door: as usual, nothing. Disregarding the prospect of breakfast, Michael turned to the counter left of the refrigerator and hoisted his phone from its charger. A moment later, glazed eyes staring dully at the screen while a hand ran over the scruff that had formed over his cheeks, Michael tossed the phone back down onto the counter and grunted: late for work and the radio appearance. Cursing, he began the rush to apply a layer of respectability over the grime that was his normal self. --- "Third time being late in two weeks, Mike." Was the first thing his manager had said upon his arrival into Reckless Records. "I've been working." Inwardly, Michael bit back the snide remarks that were waiting to be thrown at the long-haired, dingy (more so than himself) man that tended the store. His voice had been nonchalant, almost soft. "Like hell you have, otherwise you'd have the decency to arrive on time." "Working on a purpose greater than this." An arm waved around the store covered in a battlefield littered with the corpses of records long past, shelves bent and misshapen, and visible dirt matted upon most surfaces than not. "'Sides, we don't-" "Right, right, don't get many people. Got that." He let out a long breath, then closed his eyes. "Anyways, last call, Mike." His voice had calmed down considerably, though Michael felt he stood on thin ice. --- Five hours later, Michael exited Reckless Records, feeling as if the entire day had slipped away. In that grand collection of three hundred minutes, eighteen hundred seconds, a total of six people had lost their way to wind up within the store, and only half of them wandered out having purchased anything. Now he stood on the corner of Portland and Elliot, waiting for the pedestrian crossing light to turn from red. As was usually the case in early March, the air was chilled and wind blew through the tunnels the towering buildings created in miniature gales, stinging at exposed skin and eating through layers of warmth. The light flashed from red to white. Without further pause - he had been quite impatient watching little traffic stroll by - Michael strode across the walkway, promptly giving a would-be assailant cab driver the New York greeting. Time was slipping as he jogged down block after block, dodged between crowds of people, and weaved between lanes of traffic. Each ticking second made itself duly aware to him: 1:03 pm, 1:04 pm, 1:05 pm... His phone began to buzz in his pocket. Annoyed - it took away from his concentration on moving - Michael glanced at the dull-glowing screen: Daniel Carter. With a quick twitch of his thumb, Michael slid the screen up and answered with a gruff remark. "You've got like ten minutes." Daniel remarked as if they were discussing the weather, but Michael knew better. "Yeah, got it. On the way - better to be fashionably late, 'nah?" He elbowed his way past a gaggle of teenagers content on occupying the middle of the sidewalk. "Now quit wasting my minutes - I'll get there when I get there. You host a radio show, play some damned music if it's a problem." Before Daniel could retort, Michael cut the line and kept walking: 1:10pm. --- "Michael Demonte - I've got a show here in a few." The girl sitting at the radio station's desk glanced up from her computer, a pair of dull brown eyes glossing over him before shifting back down to the screen. "Who with?" Came her response after a lengthy pause. "Naomi Wolfe." "Oh, right, her. Yeah, down that way, last door." The directions were followed with a vague gesture of the girl's arm. Feeling dismissed, Michael walked through the dimly lit, ill-maintained, and cluttered hall lined with notice boards, advertisements, loose wires and countless more debris. Arriving at the door, he paused, cleared his throat, and reached for the knob. On the other side of the thin wooden door he could hear a clear voice speaking. "This is 98.8 FM, I'm Daniel Carter signing off and handing the reigns back to Naomi here - I'll talk to you all tomorrow, same time, same place." Proud, confident, everything a radio host should be, if over controlling. Grinning, giving himself one last mental pat-down, Michael opened the door.